Toughie 572

Toughie No 572 by Osmosis

If You Don’t Like Football It’s Tough

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BD Rating – Difficulty **/***Enjoyment ****

This is a superb midweek Toughie from Osmosis, jam-packed with “penny-drop” moments. It’s not terribly difficult (nothing obscure) but it is tremendously entertaining. Let us know what you thought of it in a comment.
Please take the time to record your assessment of the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Old court to stiffen caution for motorists (4,7)
{STAR CHAMBER} – this is the name of a secretive court which tried important and political figures and which reached the height of its power (and the abuse thereof) under the Stuarts before being abolished in 1641. It’s a charade of a verb to stiffen (shirt collars, for example) and the light signifying caution for motorists.

7a  Apply to doctor/nurse for protection restricting babies? (7)
{PLAYPEN} – It’s a bit odd that one of the words in this clue is the answer to a clue which intersects it. Start with an anagram (to doctor) of APPLY and add the abbreviation for an enrolled nurse. The result is something that confines babies in safety.

8a  Praise hospital staff working around clock, essentially (4,3)
{HATS OFF} – this is a phrase used to express admiration and praise for someone. H(ospital) is followed by an anagram (working) of STAFF around the middle letter (essentially) of clOck.

10a  Private play entertains males (5)
{TOMMY} – put a verb meaning to play around two M(ales) to get the traditional name for a private in the British army.

11a  Frenchman’s agreed to stuff a snail, cooking for Gallic-style place (9)
{LOUISIANA} – this place is a US state which was originally a French colony and it’s Gallic-style because it was named after le roi soleil. Put the French for yes (agreed) inside (to stuff) an anagram (cooking) of A SNAIL.

12a  Members of flock host upmarket service, a section in tweeds? (4-3)
{TURN-UPS} – put another word for rams (members of flock) around (host) the letter used for posh or upmarket and the abbreviation for one of our armed services. The result is a trouser style that goes in and out of fashion on a regular basis, in tweeds and other materials.

14a  Addressed the limits of those living in sin (7)
{GREETED} – the outer letters (limits) of T(hos)E go inside (living in) one of the seven deadly sins.

15a  Laurel awarded finally excited comedian (5-2)
{STAND-UP} – this is a type of comedian. It’s a charade of Ollie’s partner (Laurel), the final letter of (awarde)D and a synonym for excited.

18a  Prosecutor enters noisy quarrel that’s boring (7)
{BRADAWL} – to get this boring tool put the abbreviation for a US state prosecutor inside (enters) a noisy quarrel.

20a  City ring road originally wrong, in hindsight (9)
{LIVERPOOL} – string together an oval or circular-shaped coil (ring), the first letter (originally) of R(oad) and something wrong or sinister. Then reverse the lot (in hindsight) to make an English city.

21a  Belgian town in European country (not Belgium) (5)
{SPAIN} – start with a Belgian town (which will be known to most for its track where overpaid divas drive round in procession until someone waves a black and white flag to bring the whole dreary proceeding to a merciful conclusion. Its second claim to fame is as the birthplace of the fictional Hercule Poirot). Now add IN to make a different European country.

22a  Student accommodation rocks for nocturnal types (7)
{DORMICE} – these nocturnal creatures are a charade of abbreviated sleeping quarters for students and a slang term for diamonds (rocks).

23a  Relieve both sons moving together in Cumberland, say (7)
{ASSUAGE} – this is a verb meaning to relieve. Start with what Cumberland is an example of (say) in the food department and move the first S(on) one place to the right and the second S(on) one place to the left so that they come together.

24a  Toss-up affected, with tide Eastern — a challenge for one rowing? (4,7)
{STEP OUTSIDE} – this is a challenge, normally issued after the intake of strong liquor, made by one protagonist in a dispute (row) to another. It’s an anagram (affected) of TOSS-UP, TIDE and E(astern).

Down Clues

1d  Stir cocktail (7)
{SLAMMER} – another slang term for stir is also a tequila-based cocktail.

2d  What Newton used to do with his theories — like the one discovered under a tree? (5)
{APPLY} – double definition, the second a very cryptic (hence the question mark) made-up adjective which might describe what is supposed to have triggered Newton’s thoughts on the nature of gravity.

3d  They illuminate the prop of a ‘Two Ronnies’ sketch x 4 (7)
{CANDLES} – these illuminate and there were four of them in the famous sketch. We’ve had this several times but it’s a classic and worth seeing again.

4d  Caught frolicking around rear of hidden cave (7)
{ACHTUNG} – there’s a real penny-drop moment here. Cave is not an underground cavern but the latin imperative meaning “look out!” which was once used by schoolboys (in the good old days when latin was a standard subject) to warn of the imminent arrival of a teacher. We want the equivalent German word which is an anagram (frolicking) of CAUGHT around the last letter (rear) of (hidde)N. Superb!

5d  Man, during Sabbath, fancied a scriptural woman (9)
{BATHSHEBA} – put a masculine pronoun (male) inside (during) an anagram (fancied) of SABBATH to make the name of the woman whom King David fancied and seduced and who became the mother of Solomon.

6d  England footballer, with diplomacy, given official warning (4,3)
{RIOT ACT} – a charade of the forename of a current England footballer and a synonym for diplomacy produces a form of words read out to warn those causing an affray to disperse.

7d  Murphy unfortunately returned starter in diner, a side dish (6,5)
{POTATO SALAD} – put what Murphy is an informal name for in front of a word meaning unfortunately which has to be reversed (returned). Then finish with the first letter of D(iner) to make a side dish.

9d  German woman implicated uncle after Dutch drug crime (11)
{FRAUDULENCE} – the definition is crime. Start with a German married woman and add an anagram (implicated) of UNCLE after D(utch). Finally add E(cstasy) (drug).

13d  Stress where linen can be found in Chambers? (9)
{UNDERLINE} – it’s a pity that Osmosis couldn’t have found some way of making Chambers the first word to disguise the fact that it has to be capitalised. It is of course our favourite big red book (other dictionaries are available) and what we want is where you’d find linen in it (5,4).

16d  Bachelor forced into unfavourable shaving — so comically here? (7)
{ADVERBS} – put the abbreviation for B(achelor) inside a synonym for unfavourable after trimming (shaving) its final E. What you end up with are parts of speech of which “so” and “comically” are examples.

17d  Having a tendency to fast around second quarter of Lent (5,2)
{PRONE TO} – the definition is having a tendency to. Put an informal 16d meaning fast or at high speed around the second letter (quarter) of lent. We had a very similar clue from Virgilius recently: Liable to be affected by onset of emotion, quickly going outside (5,2).

18d  Sporting legend admitted learning football artistry originally here (7)
{BELFAST} – This is a lovely semi-all-in-one clue. The surname of a footballing legend goes round the initial letters (originally) of L(earning) F(ootball) A(rtistry) to make the city where he grew up (and where the city airport now bears his name). He famously said “I spent 90% of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted.

19d  Express pilot consumes snack abroad (2,1,4)
{AT A PACE} – put a word used to describe an expert airman (pilot) around (consumes) a Spanish snack. The result is an adverbial phrase meaning with haste or express.

21d  Brightness shifting North North-East gives cheer in Orient (5)
{SUSHI} – start with the brightness that we sometimes enjoy in summer and remove (shifting) the abbreviations for a) North, and b) North-East to leave an oriental dish (cheer).

There are too many favourite clues to list them all, but I especially liked 11a, 20a, 24a and 18d. Best of all, however, is 4d. Let us know which ones stood out for you.

32 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    As you say a superb, great fun Wednesday Toughie – thank you very much Osmosis. Not that difficult for a toughie (not the easiest either, before someone starts) but enjoyable from start to finish. I would add 3d and 13d to your list of favourites Gazza. Thanks for the review – it’s always nice to have twice the fun by being able to review a good crossword, isn’t it?

    • gazza
      Posted June 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      It certainly is, Sue. I really enjoyed this one.

  2. BigBoab
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Very fine crossword from Osmosis, personal favourites were 1d and 24a. Many thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for e great review.

  3. Posted June 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    8a to the setter!. 4d was a stand-out penny drop moment in an excellent puzzle. Strangely I was held up for a goof 5 minutes at the end on the two 21s – it was only an email to crypticsue that prompted the law to kick in!
    Many thanks to Osmosis and to gazza for clearing up the wordplay in 20a for me.

  4. Jezza
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Excellent fun – Osmosis at his best! – Took me most of the morning in between work duties to complete, and I really enjoyed it. The bottom half went in quickly, but the top half took me much longer.
    Thanks to Osmosis, and to Gazza for the notes.

    • andy
      Posted June 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      How odd Jezza, t’was other way round for me, the SE taking more than the rest combined. Hey ho!

      • Jezza
        Posted June 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        My problem was that I did not see 1a straight away.

        • andy
          Posted June 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

          And I completely missed the anagram for an age in 24a.

  5. davelawes
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Osmosis for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle . I too was held up with the 21a – took a while for the penny to drop.
    4d,11a,13d my favourites.

  6. andy
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, how to pick a favourite out of so many , but opting for 18d if only because once solved finally cracked the SE. Top notch. Thanks to Osmosis and Gazza

  7. Prolixic
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    A feast full of fun from Osmosis. Many thanks to him for the crossword and to Gazza for the review. Have to agree with 4d as the top clue but lots of contenders again for the top place!

  8. pegasus
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    A plethora of pleasure today from the outstanding Osmosis favourites for me were 3d 4d and 18d, Many thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for a fine review.

  9. Lostboy
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle, thoroughly enjoyed this.
    Loads of ace clues.
    Took me ages, but felt satisfied when I eventually finished as I figured out the nocturnal element…….
    Thanks!

  10. Qix
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m with the crowd.

    Great midweek fun. 20a was very clever, but the whole thing was very enjoyable.

    Many thanks to Osmosis, and to Gazza for a great review.

  11. Phil
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I know I do go on about this, but I always believed that every part of the crossword; clue, answer, misdirection etc should all contain words that exist in the Chambers dictionary. Whilst the verb ‘apply’ obviously does exist, the adverb ‘apply’ does not. The setter thinks they are being clever when using non-words, but it’s like resorting to swearing when trying to express yourself, it’s not clever and it’s not right.
    Don’t get me wrong I love the challenge of all the Telegraph crossword setters, but feel that the use of non words is somehow not playing with a straight bat.

    • Qix
      Posted June 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      In Toughie crosswords, I think that a little non-standard clueing is to be expected, and this is a mild example.

      In fact, although not in the current edition of Chambers, APPLEY (with an E) is a perfectly valid adjective. It’s listed in other dictionaries, and widely-used in, for example, wine-tasting. Had the second part of the clue used a homophone indicator, it would have been absolutely straight.

      One of the most enjoyable things about Toughies, for me, is the somewhat greater latitude that setters are allowed, and I think that this kind of clue makes the whole puzzle more enjoyable.

    • Lostboy
      Posted June 1, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      I know you’re right……… but “Apply” made me smile.
      Pity it wasn’t an orange that fell on his head. then the answer could have just been “orange”, and we wouldn’t be worrying about it. :-)

      • Qix
        Posted June 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        From Chambers:

        orˈangey /-ji/ adjective
        Somewhat orange in colour, flavour, etc

        • Lostboy
          Posted June 1, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

          Hmmmm.
          I prefer “orageish.”
          May not be in Chambers- my version is in a box, somewhere between my old house and my new one, so I can’t check.

          So. Is there a word, “Tangeriney”? Just a thought.

          • Lostboy
            Posted June 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

            Sorry, “orangeish”.
            Tryping error.

            • Qix
              Posted June 1, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

              “Orangeish” might be a useful term in Belfast…

              “Tangeriney” could describe half-hearted Dundee United fans (who could also be “A tiny genre that’s nuts (10)”).

              • Lostboy
                Posted June 1, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

                Oddly enough, my two main current projects are in Belfast and Dundee.
                Love the Dundee United clue. They’re all nuts up there.

                I woke up in Dundee this morning.
                It was mainly grey though, not Tangerine. Greyish. Definitely not greyey.

          • gazza
            Posted June 1, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

            Peachy is definitely a word.

            • Qix
              Posted June 1, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

              Ditto bananas.

    • Franco
      Posted June 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      2d – I liked this one. As Gazza has said in his review, the setter was using a “made-up adjective” (hence the question mark).

      I also read this as an Adjective not an Adverb, as you suggest.

  12. Franco
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    I agree with everybody (apart from Phil, it seems) – excellent puzzle – IMHO it deserved a 5* “Enjoyment Rating”.

    Thanks to Osmosis for producing such an entertaining puzzle that was not too Tough – for someone like me who normally sticks to the back-page cryptic!

    Thanks, also to Gazza for the review! Don’t know how many times I’ve seen the “Four Candles” sketch – but, had to watch it again! As you say, a classic!

    • Jezza
      Posted June 1, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      I’m off to the Oaks on Friday – I see one of the horses is ‘Fork Handles’; I might have an E/W flutter :)

      • Posted June 1, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Jezza, I meant to tell you but you (Jezza) won at 16-1 then at 6-1 in the last year. You aren’t worth a carrot now!
        Suffice to say I didn’t get a bet on……

        • Jezza
          Posted June 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          If you see me racing again, let me know… as Del Boy says, ‘This time next year, we’ll be millionaires” :)

          • Posted June 1, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            You have been out a couple of times since – stepped up in grade and didn’t really perform but might be worth a tickle later if the handicapper gets hold of you.
            I haven’t lost anything but you must try harder (or else we need to pick a really long odds horse that is guaranteed to win)

            I’ll leave the details with you…..

  13. upthecreek
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful crossword. I thought 2 was brilliant and it gave me a great pennydrop moment. the rest of the clues were all good with 3 812 13 20 and 24 standing out. I think the last 2 toughies best this year.

  14. Mike in Amble
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    So good was this one that I’ve had to stay up till 11.00pm to get it cracked. A lot of great clues…. my favourite 24a.Thanks setter and Gazza.